Welcome back to work, everyone! And cheers: we survived another holiday season. Above is part of what is a heart-warming winter panorama featuring a field, a barn, low sun and lots of snow. When you think winter in rural Quebec, this is often the sight that comes to mind – but it might be harder to find it than you think. I stumbled on this one on a back road in the Saguenay area (where I was visiting my mother for Christmas) and immediately yelled: “Stop the car! Stop the car!”. And then got this great shot. I hope it won’t sink in the search engine.
Post production was done mostly with Nik Software, which I am trying these days to see if they can help in my workflow and results. I must say I’m quite smitten with Dfine (noise reduction) and Viveza (brightness/contrast/saturation tool/ detail enhancer). Less so with Color Efex, which tends to create overblown, garish, artifacted images if you’re not careful. There certainly is a market for all that (weddings come to mind or anything that screams vintage or landscapes that want that little push into 21st century not-quite-real-wowness), but I doubt if it fits my work, especially now that the Vetta collection seems out of reach for most exclusives. Still I have a few more days to decide: I’m loving the fully functional 14 days demos you can download on their website. I’ve also dabbled with Sharpener Pro, but I’m having a hard time making it work within the tough stock industry noise standard. Sharpening noise is a big no-no. Another downside is file size: because each filter is creating a comp copy of the image with all the previous effects added in, my PSD files are, well, that many times larger at the end. Plus, because the effect application is a rasterized comp, if you add many filters within one application of Color Efex, you can’t really go back to adjust one of them. So this leaves you with the choice of having a layer (comp image) per filter, or risking putting many effects into a comp and having to redo all the work if you decide later to, say, remove one. Even if you go ahead with one filter per comp, because the next one works on top of the first one, all the previous effects are included in each new comp – making it very awkward to correct. So ahem, not sure about that one. It might be useful if used sparingly for very specific effects. But isn’t adding such effects stepping into the designer’s territory? Ah, the eternal question!